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President's Opportunity Training Initiative

President Obama's Opportunity Training Initiative can help you get the skills you need to get a new job. If you are currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits, you may qualify for extra assistance in paying for education and training. Visit for more information.

Step 1: Develop a Plan

Get started with a solid plan that takes into account your strengths and interests and includes your career goals and find training that is right for you.

1.) Assess Your Potential

Everyone has a unique set of skills, interests, and work values. Understanding your strengths can help you identify career options that would be a good match for you. The following sites each provide online self assessment tools that can help you narrow your options.

  • O*Net Skills Search - Use a list of your skills to find matching O*NET-SOC occupations.
  • Skills Profiler - Identify your skills and find occupations related to those skills.
  • Career Compass - Indicate your interests to learn about a variety of related high-growth occupations.

2.) Identify Your Opportunities

Know what jobs are in demand and how much they pay. These sites provide useful labor market information to help you target careers based on job opportunities.

  • Maine Employment Info Guide - Click on the Job Market Explorer to research Maine labor market trends including wages, employment projections and educational requirements.
  • Maine Jobs In Demand - See a list of selected Maine jobs considered to be "in demand" occupations. These careers are in fields where job growth is expected or employment opportunities will be created through job openings.
  • Employability Checkup - Get a snapshot of the likelihood that you can obtain employment for a specific occupation at your desired wage and location.

3.) Find Training

The following links can help you identify training and education programs that will meet your needs.

  • Approved Training Programs - Find training / education programs in Maine that would qualify as approved training for unemployment.
  • List of Maine Colleges and Universities - Locate campuses of the University of Maine and Community College System or identify private colleges near you.
  • Maine Adult Education - Get connected to an Adult Education Program in your area or search statewide for courses that interest you.
  • Education and Training Finder - Use the occupation or keyword search to find educational programs that offer the training you need.
  • Certification Finder - Look for certification providers by keyword, industry, or occupation.
  • Apprenticeship - Contact the Maine Apprenticeship Program to find out more about on-the-job training opportunities with Maine employers.

Step 2: Financial Aid

Get the help you need to pay for your training / education programs. These are some of the resources available to you.

Financial Aid Programs

Other Grants / Scholarships

  • Maine Scholarship Search - Find scholarships available to Maine residents.
  • Competitive Skills Scholarship - Provides a grant to moderate and low income workers seeking a degree or certificate for skills in high-wage, demand occupations. In addition to helping pay tuition expenses, the program also pays for educational supports not covered by other programs.

Education Savings Accounts

Special Programs for Laid-off Workers

If you have lost your job, you may be eligible for one of the following programs to help you pay for training. Contact your local CareerCenter to see if you qualify.

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance - Provides an education benefit to workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade.
  • Dislocated Worker Benefits - Allows extra weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals profiled as "likely to exhaust" regular unemployment benefits and who are enrolled in approved training programs.
  • Workforce Investment Act - If you are out of work, need job training, or need to brush up on your skills, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program may help you. WIA funds a variety of employment and training programs for youth and adults in various levels of services depending on needs and eligibility.

Other Resources

  • Federal Aid First - Learn about the difference between federal and private education loans, the various kinds of federal loans offered and the dollar amounts available.
  • Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid - Get information about all federal student aid programs - includes an overview of federal student aid, as well as more detailed information on the application process and student loans.
  • Financial Literacy - Offers education on the management of personal finances and is an essential part of planning and paying for postsecondary education. Includes links to websites that providing information on money management, handling credit and debt, and information on consumer protection.

Step 3: Get Your Training Approved

You need to have your training plan approved by the Maine Department of Labor if you want to be able to continue to receive unemployment benefits while in school / training.

How to Get Your Training Plan Approved

Find Training Programs that qualify as Approved Training - Use the CareerCenter Consumer Report System to find training / education programs in Maine that would qualify as approved training for unemployment.

Get an Application: Download an Application for Approved Training (B-17 Form) online or call 207-621-5101 to request one. Your completed application will be considered by the Unemployment Insurance Commission and you will receive a decision by mail.

Provide Proof of Enrollment: If you are not enrolled in a Workforce Investment Act program through the CareerCenter, you will need to have proof of enrollment from your training provider / school including start and end dates for your courses. Fax a letter or form from the school directly to the Bureau of Unemployment Compenation at 207-287-3395. If you are enrolled in a Workforce Investment Act program your CareerCenter case manager will notify Unemployment for you.